Proteins provide important amino acids that serve as building blocks for the formation of new muscle. But not all dietary proteins are equal. The most popular proteins are whey and casein which are sourced from milk. These two milk proteins are both excellent sources of all the essential amino acids, but they differ in one important aspect—whey is a fast-digesting protein and casein is a slow-digesting protein.
During the cheese production processes much of the casein protein, fat and minerals are retained in the cheese product. What remains is the liquid whey permeate that contains whey protein. This raw whey can be processed further to produce protein powders. These powders can vary significantly in quality. For example:
• Basic Whey Powder – 13% Protein. Raw whey from the cheese process is dried and sold.
• WPC35 – Whey Protein Concentrate with 35% protein. Value is added to the raw whey by extracting a proportion of the Lactose to help increase or “concentrate” the protein fraction to 35%.
• WPC80 – Whey Protein Concentrate with 80% protein. Even more lactose is extracted to increase the protein content to 80%.
• WPI – Whey Protein Isolate with 90% protein. In order to “isolate” as much protein in the product, most of the Lactose and Fat in the raw whey is extracted in order to increase the protein content to 90%.
• Demineralized Whey – The mineral content of cow’s milk is about four times higher than that of human milk. Baby food manufacturers require that dairy companies ‘demineralize’ their whey through a micro-filtration process to make it suitable for infant formula production.
Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and TMRzoo.com and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.